Now, we live on the top floor of a typical Chicago 3-story brick building. We have a back porch and a set of back stairs. Over the railing of our back porch -- maybe 30 feet down -- is concrete patio.
Sarah and I have both thought about what this means for the small person of Elliot. A lot. So vivid are these thoughts, actually, that by an unspoken rule we usually avoid taking Elliot down the the back stairs at all, because to even walk down those stairs while carrying him invokes the nonzero probability of tripping or slipping. And this, in turn, brings with it the terrible possibility of his body hurtling toward the concrete. It cannot be borne.
This vision actually extends its grip to the indoors. Whenever anyone holding my son moves toward our back door, to do some innocent thing like inspect a passing songbird, I want to grab them by the hem and say -- or I guess I sort of DO say -- something like "Hey, not sure if you were going to go out on the back patio or not, but if you were, and if you were taking Elliot with you, try to remember to stay really far away from the edge, OK. Or you know what? Maybe I'll just take him. Maybe I'll just go ahead and take him back now. Thanks!"
As I woke up this morning, I heard Sarah opening a window somewhere in the house. And, as opening windows do, it caused me to think about where the boy was, and if he was safe. And the Michael Jackson thing crossed my mind for some reason.
As I got out of bed to confirm with my own sleep-crusty eyes that Elliot was on firm ground, I realized two things:
- that there is an elemental connection between us. He is burrowed down into me. There's no part of me that can let him fall.
- if that really was Michael Jackson's own child dangling in the empty air, then Michael Jackson is far crazier than anyone had supposed